Easy Worm Mix 2019 – Important!

March 26, 2019

As I wrote in my last post, order preparation for Easy Worm Mix has changed a fair bit this season.

Instead of relying on outdoor production beds (which translates into a later start, supply bottlenecks throughout the year, and a late fall season shut-down), I’ve been rolling out a new indoor production system. Each starter batch of Easy Worm Mix is prepared by hand (with love – haha) – although, in some cases I do have multiple batches together in a larger system – and then left to sit for at least 6 weeks.

This gives the initial stock of “breeder” worms ample opportunity to produce loads of cocoons, and for may of those cocoons to hatch out (and the young worms to start growing).

Some Important Facts to Keep in Mind

1) Adult worms can release 3 cocoons per week, 2) Hatchlings tend to start emerging after 21 days, and 3) Each cocoon averages 3 hatchlings.

Starting with 100+ breeder worms, it’s easy to see that you will end up with lots of worms and cocoons by the 42 day (6 week) mark – and so far I’ve been thrilled with how the batches have been turning out. In past seasons, the # of cocoons (which, in a lot of ways are the most important part) I ended up with in the mix varied widely, largely dependent on the time of year.

It’s amazing what can happen with a fully climate-controlled, consistent/systematic approach! There will literally be NO batches of Easy Worm Mix that don’t have lots of cocoons in them!

But this brings us to a VERY important point…

It’s critical to realize that Easy Worm Mix is what I like to refer to as a “nursery mix/culture” – much of the vermicomposting potential arrives in the form of very small hatchlings/juveniles and cocoons. Both of these can be quite difficult to see, especially for the untrained eye. The image above shows what the cocoons look like – without those red arrows, they certainly wouldn’t be as obvious, would they? And that’s close up!

And here is what a shot of what the mix might look like if you dumped it out into a bin:

Not very exciting, is it? But don’t be fooled by appearances – you are looking at some incredible worm composting potential right there.

This is probably also a good time to also mention the importance of using ALL the material – please do not attempt to separate the worms from the habitat mix (unless you plan to start a separate system for each – and even then you should simply split up everything between the systems). Not only will you lose all the valuable cocoons and countless tiny worms, you will be tossing a highly valuable habitat/food starter for your new system.

Even if you can’t quite fit it all in your bin (eg. you are using a single tray in a small stacking bin), just save what have left over and gradually add over time – or start up a separate bin!

This mix is going to be fantastic for starting a new system. If you’ve set things up properly (don’t ever hesitate to e-mail me with questions about this), it will likely seem as though the population is “exploading” (mainly because young worms are growing quickly and becoming more visible) quite quickly. And one of the great things about cocoons and hatchlings is that you end up with worms that are better adapted for their new environment (there is literally scientific research to back this up)!

As I’ve said elsewhere, the mix isn’t necessarily going to be ideal for everyone. For example – if, for some reason you need loads of bigger worms right away (eg for fishing or live food), this won’t be an ideal product for you (but you can certainly grow loads of bigger worms using this culture IF you are patient and use various nutritional/spacing etc strategies). If you are trying to start up a massive system, this also may not be ideal (again, unless you are willing to be more patient – since these worms DO grow in number quickly).

Anyway – I just want to make sure everyone is clear on this early on. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line any time with questions – and don’t forget that, as a customer, you are entitled to as much ongoing support as you need! My main goal is to help you achieve successful vermicomposting!

Oh, one last thing…

Full Disclosure – There may still be cases where orders are filled more quickly by harvesting from very productive outdoor beds (i.e. the way I did it in the past). This will only be at times when I have access to material that is very rich in both worms and cocoons (at least as rich as the mix from the indoor production bins) and when demand is very high (eg during the spring).


2 Responses to “Easy Worm Mix 2019 – Important!”

  1. Les Baraz on May 15th, 2019 11:54 pm

    Last year I released a bunch of red wigglers to my compost pile but they ( not surprizingly ) died throug the winter.

    Can you suggest a good way to keep them alive through the cold days? The winter temperature here it at worst just shy of minus 20 C.

    Of course, an obvious solution is to bring them inside and nurture the through the winter.

    But I want a bunch of red wigglers in the compost all the time.

    How do other worms ( not red wiglers ) survive the harsh conditions? Do they crawl deep or they just put up with the cold?



  2. Bentley on May 16th, 2019 9:46 am

    Hey Les!
    The (relatively simply) solution I’ve relied on for years involves low-lying , well-protected systems, ideally with pits/trenches. Here is a link to my “Backyard Composting with Worms” post: https://www.wormcomposting.ca/vermicomposting/backyard-composting-with-worms/

    Shows my recommended approach for setting up a backyard composter for vermicomposting.

    I do really recommend keeping an indoor “Insurance System” as well though. Here is a link to a blog post on my other site that should help to familiarize you with this idea as well:

    Hope this helps


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